Tips for Creating Revit Families

21 March 2022Architecture and Engineering, autodesk, Construction, Revit, Uncategorizedrevit families creation



In his Applied Software webinar, “Intro to Revit Families,” Gabe Hernandez gave his advice, best practices and tips for creating Autodesk Revit Families. Gabe’s Revit webinars are some of the most popular that Applied Software sponsors, so it’s worth checking out. And be ready to take notes.  

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BIM Revit model of building framework, half in color and half in whiteline

Gabe’s overall advice about content creation in Revit is that it should be strictly managed. Not everyone should be creating content. He also stressed that, when building families, templates rule the world.

Following are considerations and tips for creating Revit families:

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  • Meet as a team to be sure you maintain strict quality and standards.
  • Make a plan for content creation and stick to it. Don’t just wing it, or you’ll frustrate even the savviest user. Your plan should include variations, detail level and host type. Make sure everyone who will be creating families knows the plan and their part in it.
  • Fill out the BIM data, including information and data that everyone needs to know. Performance is key when generating families.
  • Consider how your content should work in a project.
  • Consider documentation and scheduling.
  • Review content libraries and 3rd party sources. Sometimes you can use something that is already provided and reverse engineer it to the content you need.
  • Clean and/or recreate any family obtained from a source other than Autodesk. Put downloaded content into a test project before using it in your active project. That way you can see what effects it has and how much it increases the file size.
  • Be cautious using voids. They can increase file sizes.
  • Face-based families consume fewer resources than those that cut their hosts.
  • Avoid groups and arrays in families as much as possible.
  • Keep it simple. Don’t overcomplicate or overmodel your families. The intention is to have simple graphical representations in 2D and 3D.
  • Always test, test, test prior to implementation.
  • Document the entire framework and standards for future content.
  • Create in the oldest version possible. You can’t save content back to earlier versions. Make sure you have content libraries for several version years in case your company takes on a project that’s in a different Revit version.

Learn all about Revit in the Applied Software Ultimate Guide to Revit.

Since templates rule the world when you’re building Revit Families, be sure you choose the correct template. Otherwise, you could have problems down the line with the model. Any of the template categories are changeable. But if you select “hosted” and it should have been “non-hosted,” that cannot be changed later; you’ll have to start over and rebuild.

The steps for creating a Revit Family are:

  1. Select the proper Family template (.rfa).
  2. Create the frame of the Family for control.
  3. Verify actions and test after creating parameters and dimensioning the framework.
  4. Generate geometry from framework; constrain; verify again.
  5. Finally generate variations (types) and populate all the required data fields. Data is key.

The main building blocks of a Family include:

  • Reference planes, reference lines and work planes.
  • Dimensional parameters and constraints.
  • Solids and voids forms/shapes.
  • Non-dimensional parameters.
  • Shared and project parameters.
  • Nested families.

A spec sheet or other documentation will help you determine which building blocks you’ll be working with to create your Families.

The Revit Family Editor is a graphical editing mode that allows you to create and modify families to include in your project. When you start creating a family, you open a template to use in the editor. The Family Editor has the same look and feel as the project environment in Revit, with some limitations. You’ll learn those limitations by experience.

Gabe’s demo during the webinar included using forms, connectors, datums, and work planes. You can access it anytime on demand.

Do you work with Revit? If so, you could benefit from the free eBook, “How to Keep Your Job with Revit.”




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